From the broom to the boardroom – Irfaan Pochee becomes a director

On 1 January 2022, MJ Hillson Ltd welcomed Irfaan Pochee on to the board of directors as contracts director. Irfaan has been with Hillsons since 2003 and is a fantastic example of how hard work, dedication and commitment can lead to tangible progress.

Originally from South Africa, Irfaan came to the UK on a gap year and started as a labourer with Hillsons on site at Ashford women’s prison. When the project needed more staff, Irfaan was asked to look after his new colleagues. He has progressed ever since, becoming a foreman, gaining NVQs and other qualifications (with full support from MJ Hillson Ltd), working as an assistant site manager and then stepping up to take control of a project at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage when the site manager was taken seriously ill.

When Hillsons won the contract to work on Battersea Reach with St Georges, Irfaan says: “That’s where my career took off.” He became a contracts manager aged just 26, and decided to set himself a new target: becoming a senior contracts manager – which he achieved within four-and-a-half years!

Irfaan then took on a series of major projects – Acacia Road, Chelsea Creek, Here East and more – and became known for turning around jobs that weren’t progressing as planned. He also expanded his network of contacts, cementing his reputation as a hard worker.

When Hillsons won the Landmark Pinnacle tender in 2016, Irfaan set himself another target: to become higher than a senior contracts manager. “Hillsons always supported me,” says Irfaan. “With qualifications, work permits… they supported me with whatever I needed.” His inspirational team leadership has always shone through – Irfaan’s teams respect him and aren’t afraid to get stuck in when projects need an extra push.

“The company is great to work for,” he says, “because it’s based on people starting with them from a young age. Every day is a school day on a construction site. You never know everything. Working closely with managing director Mark Hillson has enhanced my approach to problem-solving and business management.”

Congratulations, Irfaan! Here’s to many more successful years.